Sanitary napkins are used to absorb the menstrual flow of menstruating women. Women who have recently given birth or had an abortion use them as well. Some people wear sanitary napkins for bladder control issues however they are not as absorbent as products made specifically for urinary incontinence.
- Inception and Evolution
Historically, women had used thick layers of old cloth to absorb their menstrual blood. This is where the term “on the rag” derived from when referring to a menstruating woman.
The first disposable sanitary pad came on the market in 1888. That original napkin called Southall’s Pad was shortly followed by Johnson and Johnson’s Lister’s Towels. Purchasing menstrual pads used to be embarrassing to women in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Many stores had a small, wooden box placed near the pads so women could put their money in the box and take the package without seeing the cashier. Nowadays, it is not unusual to see a man purchasing napkins for his wife. Menstrual pads are now commonplace and even seen on television commercials.
Fortunately, sanitary napkins have evolved over the years. There are now many brands with numerous styles to appeal to all women. Tampons and menstrual cups are also available however they are used internally. Napkins are worn on the outside of the body between the under garment and the vulva.
- Panty Liners
Women use panty liners for several different reasons. These products are very thin and perfect for light menstrual flow. They can also be worn to catch any other menstrual discharge that is light in nature. Many women wear panty liners while using a tampon for added assurance and protection from any leakage.
- Ultra-Thin Pads
Ultra-thin pads are one of the most popular sanitary items for women. They are considerably thinner than other regular styles. Because they are so compact, they are easy to keep in a purse for necessary pad replacement. Ultra-thin pads are more comfortable to wear because they are not bulky and thick as some others can be but are often just as absorbent.
- Regular Pads
Regular pads are the middle of the road option for the menstruating woman. They are absorbent but are a little on the thick side. Women often complain that the outline of regular pads can be visible through their pants. This can be unsightly and embarrassing. They do work well and with regular pad replacement, rarely leak onto clothing.
- Maxi Pads
Maxi pads are the most absorbent napkins specifically designed for daytime use. They are very thick and very long which makes them perfect for days when the menstrual flow is heavy.
One of the issues that women have with maxi pads is that they are difficult to conceal in a purse. Honestly, nobody wants to be in a store and have maxi pads falling out of their purse when trying to take out their wallet. That would be absolutely mortifying for any woman! Some companies have provided a carrying case inside of the maxi pad packages to help eliminate potential humiliation.
- Overnight Pads
The thickest, biggest and bulkiest of all pads is the dreaded overnight pad. This huge napkin certainly does the job but many women complain that they are uncomfortable to wear. Its absorbency is second to none but many feel it is not worth the lack of sleep to wear.
- Maternity Pads
Maternity pads were designed with the needs of women who have just given birth in mind. They are thick and very long. They are extremely absorbent to prevent leakage of lochia. Lochia is similar to menstrual bleeding but it is technically the fluid eliminated from the uterus after childbirth.
Women have a variety of choices when selecting sanitary napkins. It is important to find the one that is most comfortable and suits her menstrual flow. Trial and error is the only way to find the perfect pad to fit your needs.